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Focus on fire safety: Farmers urged to carry out risk assessments as harvest time looms

WITH THE COST of farm fires hitting more than £95 million in 2021, the need for regular fire safety risk assessments has never been more important to UK farmers.

Harvest time is approaching and the risks increase significantly, with electrical problems known to be one of the biggest causes of devastating farm fires.

John Crockett, health and safety manager at Northampton-based Acorn Safety Services, is urging farmers to be on top of their health and safety issues before the busiest time of the year gets under way.

“Discarded cigarettes, hot fuel and broken bottles can all cause fires, given the right conditions,” Mr Crockett pictured left says. “With some statistics showing that as many as 40% of farms will never recover from the devastating effects of a fire, making sure a full fire risk assessment has been carried out on your farm is essential, particularly as the busy harvest season approaches.”

He is also advising farmers to carry out a legionella risk assessment to check for the presence of legionella bacteria in water supplies. “Water supplies to livestock can stagnate if not used or flushed on a regular basis. Natural water courses where livestock feed are also a concern – wild animals may cause water supplies to become poor where faeces or rotting animals are not noticed.”

Regular testing be carried out to keep water supplies clean, he adds.

A risk assessment will identify potential issues and ensure safety measures which need to be introduced are communicated with all staff members. Farmers should also have an emergency plan in place to ensure all those affected know what to do should the worst happen, Mr Crockett says.

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